Thursday, September 23, 2021

Interview: Jeff Timmons Talks About The Return Of 98 Degrees And His Solo Career



Jeff Timmons is best-known as one quarter of the multi-million selling band 98 Degrees, who made their debut in 1997 with breakthrough single ‘Invisible Man’.

In 2003 after years of success that saw them tour the world and notch up plenty of hits, the band went on hiatus as they pursued solo endeavours. 9 years later, the band reunited and in 2013 they released new album ‘2.0’, which was followed in 2017 with the festive collection ‘Let It Snow’.

This year, the band is celebrating their success with #98DegreesofSummer on social media and last Friday they released new single ‘Where Do You Wanna Go’.

I spoke to Jeff this week to discuss the return of 98 Degrees, look back on the band’s huge success and find out how he feels about his foray into releasing music as a solo artist…

Let’s start by saying that it’s one of Pop’s great injustices, that 98 Degrees weren’t bigger here in the UK…

There’s always still a chance, right? With the new song and the way things are so viral now, compared to when we were out the first time, there might be an opportunity for us just yet.

I was championing you guys all the way back in the 90s. I discovered your music when I was interning at a national newspaper and I was handed a CD of ‘Invisible Man’…

‘Invisible Man’, although it was our first song, I feel like that one made the most impact in the UK. We tried to come back several times but every time we went back to the UK, our label was getting sold. Every time we went there, unfortunately, we had a different staff so the only song that really sort of stuck, and it was only there for a second, was ‘Invisible Man’. Literally it was a blip on the charts. At that time the UK charts were quite different than the US. You had to follow up with single after single because they would come on the charts and then they were gone. I’m glad that you remember that and I’m flattered you know that song.

98 Degrees is back with a new song, ‘Where Do You Wanna Go’, and it sounds like classic 98 Degrees but also works in the current pop climate because it sounds so fresh. Why did you decide to release that song now?

We got really lucky with that song. We had been gone for a little while and music changed quite a bit (in terms of the) the way you distributed music, the sound of music, and all that stuff. We were traditionally known as balladeers and when we came back, we were trying too hard. We adopted a different sound and it didn’t really translate. We went with a label that had a different angle for us that they thought would be amazing and it didn’t work. This time, we were like, ‘look, how can we adopt the current sound while being true to what our sound is?’ and we felt that this exemplified exactly that. I’m glad you think it’s fresh, but you can still recognize that it’s a 98 Degree song. For those that don’t know, maybe it’ll introduce us to a new audience, which is always the hope.

I was surprised in the 90s that the press was so quick to just lump you in the boyband group with Backstreet Boys and N’Sync. To me, you were a lot closer to Boyz II Men, as 98 Degrees were all about the vocals and the harmonies. Was it frustrating for you to be categorised with the boybands?

I’ll be honest with you, at first it was. When I started the group Boyz II Men was the model. I was so enamoured with their sound and thought that there was a certain uniqueness that would apply to the way I would love to have my music out there, that we were really flattered when we got discovered at a Boyz II Men concert and we got signed to Motown like Boyz II Men.  Boybands weren’t prevalent here in the United States yet and it wasn’t until we went overseas and saw this onslaught of these boybands that we started being affiliated with this term. We felt that it was an insult in the beginning but certainly being lumped in with groups, and considered in the same era, as the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, who we are dear friends with, now we’re embracing it. It’s always interesting to me that even though we never broke the UK, it was always the UK journalists like yourself that recognised that the sound was a little bit different. Here in the States they saw basically four white guys doing harmony and it was ‘oh, they’re a boyband’. It was a bit frustrating but certainly when you get all the drippings that come along with it – the worldwide fame and the fandom – you’re like, ‘OK cool, it’s not such a bad thing after all’.

For me 98 Degrees has always been about soul and the vocals. That’s always been the focal point and no disrespect to Backstreet Boys or N’Sync, both of whom I’m a fan of, but their brand was a little more smoke and mirrors and big production…

I’m very flattered that you have observed. Obviously you’ve done your homework. You were around in the beginning as an intern so you understood the gestation of that group and the foundation was the vocals. When we started out it was just four-part harmony. None of us played any instruments and certainly it was very difficult, unlike today, to just create tracks from scratch with inexpensive equipment. All we had was our voices and quickly we learned that performing live and outside and acapella got us very far. We were always priding ourselves on a true quartet – tenor, tenor, bass and baritone – and we’ve stuck with that for the songs. Production’s changed so it’s harder for us to get the younger producers to understand that we need to incorporate all four of the guys and their strengths, but we somehow are able to pull that across it and get that accomplished, especially with the most recent stuff we recorded.

You’re in the middle of #98DegreesOfSummer, which is going to end with the release of an EP. Where did that idea come from?

I wish we could take credit for coming up with the concept. We’ve got a new manager Johnny Wright, who as you know he manages Justin, he managed Backstreet (Boys) and N’Sync, and we never had a really, really strong management team. We thought this time, ‘this might be the last time we ever come out. Let’s do it right. Let’s go get Johnny Wright, he knows how to do this stuff’ and it was his brainchild. He was like, ‘let’s revisit and embrace the mistakes while we’re releasing new stuff. We’ve got the remix album coming out and the new music and and let’s pay an ode to your fans by allowing them to share in the nostalgia of you guys coming back’. He timed it out that 98 days would be a sufficient amount and teamed up with iHeart, because of our strong relationships and friends, they’re really supporting this and we can’t thank them enough. The campaign is just something that’s really smart and clever. Again, I wish I could take credit for that but you’ve got to give credit where it’s due and Johnny’s the man behind that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Q&A: 98 Degrees revisits the ’90s on new single ‘Where Do You Wanna Go’


Everything ‘90s is new again.

Slip dresses and puffer jackets are on trend. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are back together. Willow Smith’s new album features a duet with pop-punk queen Avril Lavigne.

98 Degrees is hoping to ride that wave to renewed success. The four-man outfit — brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre — has a new single, “Where Do You Wanna Go,” whose sound and video is a cheeky throwback. It previews a forthcoming EP that will feature new songs, remixes of past hits and a collaboration with an unnamed country artist.

98 Degrees scored several hits in the late ‘90s and early aughts, including “I Do (Cherish You),” “The Hardest Thing” and “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche).” From the start, this wasn’t your average boy band. The Ohio natives came together independently before signing to Motown Records. There was no slick choreography, and they were decidedly beefier than their counterparts.

The group has recorded sporadically since 2000. Nick Lachey went on to hosting gigs and won the most recent season of “The Masked Singer.” He became a pop culture fixture alongside ex-wife Jessica Simpson on the MTV reality series “Newlyweds” and scored a solo hit with 2006’s “What’s Left of Me.”

Drew Lachey won “Dancing with the Stars” Season 2 and starred on Broadway in “Rent” and other productions. Timmons co-created Men of the Strip, sort of a PG-version of Chippendales. Jeffre ran for mayor of Cincinnati and largely stayed out of the spotlight.

All four members spoke via Zoom about the group’s new music and ‘90s memories.

Q:Why did you go the throwback route with “Where Do You Want to Go?”

Jeff: You gotta find the right song. When we first came back, we didn’t know what that was. We probably were overthinking a little bit and not being true to ourselves completely. With this song, it was a no-brainer. This sounds like a 98 Degrees song with a fresh twist, fresh production. We just thought it sounded like a summer hit.

Q: The video features lots of ‘90s fashion. Did it take you back to that era?

Drew: We’ve never left that time. There was a sense of nostalgia. You’re putting on the baggy clothes, wearing the tank tops and the bucket hats and all that stuff. But a lot of those trends are current again now, and that was part of why we felt like it was a good fit for this song.

Q: Do you see old photos and think, “Why did I wear that?”

Drew: Every day.

Justin: Looking back, it’s hard to believe that we actually agreed to wear some of that stuff.

Nick: The style is coming back. But some of it probably should never come back based on the pictures I’ve been looking at. I think we’ve always been a group that’s at least tried not to take ourselves too seriously. The video was a chance to go back and be a little bit self-deprecating and have some fun with it.

Q: Did anyone pull pieces from their closet for the new video?

Nick: The basketball jersey I wore, I think, is probably the same one I wore in the late ‘90s. That just shows I need to go ahead and clean my closet.

Drew: It might have been a little tighter through the …” (wraps hands around waist)

Q: You got back together during the pandemic?

Justin: We had been wanting to do new music when the lockdown happened. We were doing shows, and everything just got put on hold. We got the opportunity to get together and create a (COVID-19) bubble in Vegas and recorded some songs.

Drew: We’re still able to sound like 98 Degrees, but they are current-sounding songs. In the past, we’ve experimented with some stuff, and it almost seemed like we were going too far away from who we were as singers. This one seems to be sitting right in the pocket and has a really great feel to it.

Q: What are the remixes like of your older songs?

Drew: If you didn’t know the originals, they would be hits on their own. We didn’t just go and put (heavy bass) underneath it and that’s the remix. DJ Lux played with some of the structures, some of the melodic elements, brought out different lines that were afterthoughts in the original songs and made them featured parts.

Q: Was it easy to fall back into your old roles and reignite the chemistry?

Drew: Well, we don’t like each other, anyway, so it’s really easy just to keep going with that. The old cliché about riding a bike, it’s true. When we sing together, the sound comes back really quickly. We still tell the same jokes we told in the late ‘90s.

Nick: It really is all about, we pop a couple of beers and everything feels normal again. Off and running.

Q: You scored a No. 1 alongside Mariah Carey and Joe on “Thank God I Found You.” What was it like working with the ultimate ‘90s diva?

Nick: I just remember being blown away that she wanted us to be on it. Just so honored and flattered to be a part of that project. And we were also huge fans of Joe — still are.

Q: What’s everyone’ favorite Mariah song?

Jeff: Can you pick the one with Boyz II Men? Or does it have to be a solo one? “One Sweet Day” is probably my favorite one.

Justin: I’m a big fan of Mariah, so it’s hard to pick one.

Drew: Was it “Vanishing?” Is that on the first album? I always liked that one. Also, the Journey cover, “Open Arms.”

Nick: I like the song “The Roof.” That’s one of my favorite ones.

Q: Jeff, you hosted a “Free Britney Radio” day on stations across the country in support of the #FreeBritney movement. Why was that important for you?

Jeff: I think anybody that watched the “Framing Britney” documentary probably was taken aback by just how crazy everything is. That was bananas to me. We didn’t expect to do anything Earth shattering but show our support toward her and hoping that she gets away from the constraints that she’s under as quick as possible.

Q: I imagine a lot of acts from her era, when labels were cranking out pop stars, can relate to what she’s going through.

Jeff: I think that any artist can relate to what she’s been through. Or anybody in the spotlight can relate to what she’s been through as well. As you have more success, sometimes the people that surround you, your inner circle and your outer circle, begins to change and their behavior changes toward you. We experienced that, I think, at a much smaller level than she has, obviously.

Q: How quickly did any of you know that was Nick on “The Masked Singer?”

Drew: He’s got this really irritating, grating voice that once you hear it, you just know. It’s kinda like nails on a chalkboard. You know exactly what that sound is.

Nick: It’s such a bizarre concept and such a bizarre thing to be a part of. But because of that, it’s one of the more fun things that I’ve gotten to do.

Q: What memories do you have of Houston?

Drew: Growing up, my knowledge of Houston was the Oilers. I think of, like, Warren Moon and the old Oilers helmet.

Jeff: We also performed at Astroworld. That was one of our first, big amusement park performances.

Nick: We did the Rodeo, too. Another concert I remember doing there was we performed at an outdoor amphitheater (the Woodlands Pavilion). It was, like, in the woods. It was so hot and muggy. I just remember sweating like I’d never sweat before.

Friday After Five finale unites Boy Bands for ATCK concert (VIDEO)


OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — As Friday After Five closes out it’s 25th season Friday night, the final concert will include members of some of the most famous Boy Bands.

The ATCK or “All the Cool Kids” concert will feature Grammy Award winning Boy Band artists, A.J. McClean of the Backstreet Boys, Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees, Chris Kirkpatrick of *NSYNC, and their friend Chris Blue, season 12 winner of The Voice.

‘All The Cool Kids’ will “ATCK” the Ruoff Party Stage in Owensboro on September 3 to say Bye-Bye-Bye to the 25th Anniversary season.

Daybreak anchor Jake Boswell and meteorologist Joe Bird had a chance to check in with Jeff Timmons and DJ Lux Friday morning.

You can meet one-on-one with A.J. McClean, Jeff Timmons, Chris Kirkpatrick, Chris Blue, and DJ LUX. You’ll also get to grab autographs and have your picture taken with them before the show. Then you’ll get to watch the concert from a designated VIP location.

The concert, happening September 3 at the Ruoff Stage in Owensboro, is free to attend.

Monday, September 20, 2021

98 Degrees Members Preview ‘Total Relief Live’ Benefit, Invite Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake to Join Lineup


Leena Tailor

Nick Lachey Shares How His Family Is Adjusting to Living in Hawaii (Exclusive)



Nick Lachey is living on island time these days. The host and singer talked to ET about adjusting to life in Hawaii, where his wife, Vanessa, is filming her new series, NCIS: Hawaii.

"She's kind of owning that role. She's really, really truly invested in it, and she loves being there, we all love being there," Nick said of Vanessa spearheading the new spinoff of the beloved CBS franchise. "I mean, the whole family's there at this point, so yeah, excited for her, excited for the opportunity to showcase her on a stage like that. The 20th is the big premiere, so we'll see, fingers crossed, but yeah, very, very happy for her."

The couple not only brought their children with them to Hawaii, they're bringing their four-legged family members over too.

"Believe it or not, I'm flying with our dogs Monday finally. Just want to get our dogs to go to Hawaii, so we're going with the dogs on Monday," Nick shared

While it's taken some time for the Lachey family to adjust to island life, Nick tells ET he can't complain about living in paradise.

"Hawaii is Hawaii, you can't complain about it. It's a total life adjustment, so I think for the whole family, it took some time to get into that new school, new living situation, but yeah, we're loving it," the Alter Ego host said of their new living arrangements. "It's a great place to be and most importantly, she's at home on her show doing what she loves to do."

He continued, "We're all loving it and it's good for the entire family. Hopefully we'll be there for the next 15 years." 

In addition to his Masked Singer spinoff, Alter Ego, Nick has been busy with his band, 98 Degrees, who most recently performed at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. There, ET spoke with Nick and his bandmates, Justin Jeffre, Drew Lachey and Jeff Timmons, about their new music and being back together onstage.

Nick Lachey previews 'radical' new singing competition Alter Ego: 'It's just a trip'


By Lauren Huff 

Alter Ego is kind of like Fox's other singing competition, The Masked Singer, but on steroids, according to judge Nick Lachey.

The visual-effects-heavy series gives 20 contestants the opportunity to be stars, but they're not singing as themselves. Instead, they create, perform, and compete as their dream avatar alter ego in front of judges Lachey, Alanis, and Grimes. "It's incredible technology meets incredible talent, and to watch it unfold on stage in front of me was pretty radical," says Lachey of the avatars, one of which shoots lasers from its eyes, while others can fly.

While viewers will get to see both the avatars and the humans behind them, the judges only had a screen showing the alter ego performing, meaning they have no idea who the person doing the actual singing is or what they look like. As the self-proclaimed "least tech savvy" of the judges, Lachey says he was blown away by the technology and what it was able to capture.

"It's just a trip," Lachey says. "The amount of detail and the amount of thought and what they were able to do — they can change in real time! Through the motion capture technology, [the avatars] are mimicking the movement and the expression of the performer. It's freaky, how real it is."

For instance, if the performer plays the cello, the avatar plays the cello as well. If the performer gets emotional, the avatar will actually cry with them. And even though the performances were all completely computer-generated, Lachey says it didn't take him out of the performances at all.

"It was that combination of the humanity and the artistry and the tech, and all those things coming together in a really beautiful way that made the show so fun to be part of. And I think that's what's really gonna resonate with people when they watch it. It's undeniable," he says. "It's really bizarre, but you're totally invested in the performances. I'm excited for everyone to see it and have their minds blown like mine was."

Alter Ego, which is hosted by Rocsi Diaz, premieres after The Masked Singer on Wednesday, Sept. 22 and Thursday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nick Lachey Reveals When He Knew His Wife Vanessa Was "The One"


Nick Lachey is best known as the lead singer of the boyband 98 Degrees — one of the late 90s/early 2000s singing groups that became heartthrobs around America, while Vanessa Lachey (née Minnillo) is an actress, model, and TV host on shows like Entertainment Tonight. With similar, fast-paced lifestyles, the two were destined to meet eventually. Similar to your favorite romantic comedy movie, the path to their decade-long marriage wasn't quite a straight and narrow path.

As a matter of fact, Nick was previously married before dating Vanessa. In December 1998, he was introduced to fellow singer Jessica Simpson at a Christmas event. They dated on and off until they tied the knot in October 2002. MTV even documented the newlyweds' lives in a short-lived reality television show called Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. The show concluded in March 2005, just months before they filed for divorceThe news shocked everyone as their relationship seemed like a pop culture match made in heaven.

Fast-forward to November 2010 and Nick proposes to Vanessa after years of knowing each other. Here are the cinematic details to how the two met, as well as how the dynamic duo finds balance between marriage, family, and stardom.

How did Nick and Vanessa meet?

As the host of MTV's Total Request Live, Vanessa met tons of early 2000s pop culture icons, and one of those was Nick. Because his band was a pretty big deal, Nick would be a frequent guest on the show. As a matter of fact, Vanessa would often report on his and Jessica's relationship as that was THE hot topic of the time (can you say awkward?).

"I wouldn’t necessarily say TRL brought us together, but that was definitely part of our time together — me being a musician and her being on-air talent. I saw her multiple times throughout the years when she was on TRL," said Nick in an interview for Billboard.

What Vanessa dubbed as the beginning of their relationship was the shoot for Nick's music video titled "What's Left of Me." The hit song was about his past relationship with Jessica, but on set, a new relationship was blooming.

In an interview with Billboard, Vanessa said,"But the video, which was on TRL, was the beginning of our relationship. That’s what made it no longer friends and it got romantic. To the point that if you go back and look at the video, when he came to premiere it, I was so nervous and so crushing him that I didn’t show up for work that day. I called in sick."

The New Year's kiss that sealed the deal

On New Year's Eve 2007, Nick and Vanessa took their relationship public on live television. Although they were spotted together previously, they left no more speculation when they went in for a smooch on MTV's New Year's Eve special. *cue the awws*

In 2009, the couple broke up for about a month or two, but they couldn't stay away from each other. Call it fate or destiny. After some time apart, they decided that being "just friends" couldn't work because they were head-over-heels for each other.

When did Nick and Vanessa tie the knot?

In a 2010 interview with CNN, Nick had these kind words to say about his wife: "I think I knew pretty early on that we would be a good match, that I loved her. So I would say, within the first six months we dated, I probably knew that was the one I wanted to be with."

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The couple threw a small, intimate wedding on a private island in the British Virgin Islands. Rather than wedding invitations, the couple sent plane tickets to their guests as if for a surprise trip. Needless to say, we're definitely jealous of those guests, but fans got an inside look into the special day with the TLC-special Nick and Vanessa's Dream Wedding.

The couple has 3 children together.

Nick and Vanessa currently have three children together:

  • Camden John Lachey (born Sept. 12, 2012)
  • Brooklyn Elisabeth Lachey (born Jan. 5, 2015)
  • Phoenix Robert Lachey (born Dec. 24, 2016)

    In 2020, Vanessa told US Weekly in an exclusive interview that she's open to the idea of having a fourth child with Nick.

    Nick and Vanessa are booked and busy, including a new role on NCIS: Hawai'i.

    The married couple are no strangers to lights, camera, and lots of action. Having children and raising a family didn't slow them down one bit. Less than a year after their third child, both Nick and Vanessa were announced as cast members on the hit ABC show Dancing With The Stars in 2017. The husband-wife duo were paired with another husband-wife duo, professional dancers Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. "I'm definitely glad that [Vanessa and I] did it together," Nick told Country Living. "But for me, it's obviously one of those things you check off the list and [say], 'I'm good.'"

    Nick and Vanessa later went on to to yet another hit show — Netflix's Love is Blind. No, they weren't contestants trying to find love without seeing each other until a proposal. They were cohosts. They admitted that they could relate to the show's concept since the beginning of their relationship involved long distance and spending hours on the phone getting to know each other.

    Fast forward to now and Vanessa shared with fans on Instagram an emotional video of her learning that she got a new leading role on NCIS: Hawai'i. She captioned the video: "I remember the day I got the call 'You got the job!' I will never forget it! Dreams do come true. One week from today, our show premieres and I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity. My life is changed forever. ❤️"